TURKEY: Istanbul's Zoo is also strengthening measures to protect its birds as fears of avian flu mount.
- Title: TURKEY: Istanbul's Zoo is also strengthening measures to protect its birds as fears of avian flu mount.
- Date: 16th January 2006
- Summary: MV VISITING FAMILY WATCHING THE BIRDS; EXOTIC BIRDS BEING KEPT IN CAGES OR INDOORS (VARIOUS)
- Reuters ID: LVA9INFZZI218CZGD6WN2DDYTS26
- Location: Turkey
- Country: Turkey
- Duration: 00:00:30
- Topics: International Relations,Health
- Story Text: Zookeepers at Istanbul Zoo are stepping up security measures on Sunday (January 15) as fears mount that the avian flu virus might infect the precious birds there.
At the entrance visitors undergo the same disinfection procedure as those who are leaving Turkey's borders. A man pours disinfectant onto the mat in a small trough through which every visitor and even every worker has to walk before they can enter the zoo.
"We have to consider the visitors and workers who come in everyday from outside, therefore we have disinfection pools at the entrance, and visitors and workers have to walk over the disinfection mats," the General Director of the Zoo, Emin Sahin told Reuters TV. "With these precautions at the entrance I believe we avoid any possible threat of poultry waste being carried into the zoo on visitors feet. Also we have the precautions in front of almost every cage," he said.
The birds have been kept inside in cages with a roof since the first incident of bird flu in October, but now they are strengthening measures, reinforcing the cages by fastening extra coils of wire and fencing to the cages and isolating the birds from their outdoor pens or quarters.
The swans and geese have not been able to venture out into their outdoor area for ten days, and are having to make do with sharing a small pond in their indoor pen.
They have not had to cull any birds apart from the chickens which they kept in order to provide the other animals with eggs to eat, the Director said.
Visitors have not been scared away from the zoo by the bird flu scare though. Sahin said it is generally quiet during the winter months, but that visitors still come because they know that the privately run zoo needs financial support, and they know that the zookeepers take notice of the precautionary measures against avian flu and apply them strictly.
"We have covered over our cages in order to prevent any possible threat from the infectious wild birds flying around," he added.
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